David is one of the 3 winners of our competition who represented us at 2015 l’Étape du Tour. He cycles 500 kilometres a week so no wonder he finished 176th place out of 15,000 thousand people. David also knows so much about cycling on Tenerife, we asked him to share his experiences with our readers.
What should you know before you arrive in the Canary Islands?
You will enjoy a unique place with a variety of climates within a few kilometres and all types of terrain for cycling. Tenerife is the only place in Europe that you can stay at over 2,000m altitude in the winter and train from the hotel door. The island hosts the longest continuous climb in Europe from sea level to 2,200m in one hit.
Many people are talking about riding the Canary Islands. However there are still many who haven’t been here yet. Which of the Canary Islands is the best choice and why?
On the Canary Islands everyone can find something that’s best for them. Professionals will be pleased with the climb training on Tenerife. There is very little flat in Tenerife, but generally the main climbs are very steady, around five to six per cent in gradient, so it’s a great destination to get some good aerobic training. Gran Canaria is sought for a great weather and La Palma and el Hiero are perfect for mountain biking.
What would you recommend for a road cyclist and what for a mountain biker?
Road cyclists are excited by the climb to the Mount Teide which is a volcano on Tenerife and with 3,718 metres, the highest point of Spain. The whole Anaga mountain range is very popular with cyclists and in recent years it’s become a training territory of the Sky Team.
The Palmar area climb to Masca is incredible. It’s a small mountain village on the island of Tenerife. The village is home to around 100 inhabitants. It lies at an altitude of 600 m in the Macizo de Teno mountains, which extend up to the north westernmost point of the island. Forests including cypresses and palm trees abound. Anaga mountains of Tenerife are the best choice for the mountain bikers.
What about the roads on the islands?
Ninety percent of the roads are very well surfaced and are very quiet. Some need repairing but they are easy to avoid. The locals are extremely patient drivers when it comes to cyclists and they will often sit behind you on a climb for five minutes, until it’s safe for them to overtake.
What time of year is good to visit and why?
You can come anytime, because you can always find a route or climate that suits perfectly your needs. The Canary Islands are an all season destination. The best time to visit is from December to April. Rain typically falls only three days a month during winter.
All photos courtesy of David Martin